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Moscow says strikes pound training centers in northern, western Ukraine, denies targeting civilians

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov

Moscow says strikes by Russian forces have pounded military training centers in northern and western Ukraine, denying that its forces are targeting civilians.

On Sunday, the Kremlin said troops had carried out strikes against three military training centers, including one in the vicinity of the Polish border, just two days ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain. 

In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said the bombings were carried out with “high-precision weapons of Russia’s aerospace forces and Kalibr missiles.”

After the strikes, several Ukrainian brigades "completely lost their combat capabilities," Konashenkov said, adding that "plans to deploy them in combat zones were thwarted."

According to the ministry, one of the targets was in the Starychi district of the Lviv region, some 30 kilometers from the common border with Poland, which is a NATO member state. It said the two other centers were situated in the central region of Zhytomyr and the northern region of Chernihiv.

The spokesman, however, did not say when or from where the missiles were launched. A day earlier, Kiev claimed Moscow had carried out strikes from Ukraine’s northern neighbor Belarus, which is a close ally of Russia. The Kremlin has not yet commented on the claim.

Elsewhere in the statement, Konashenkov said that following the strikes, several Ukrainian brigades “completely lost their combat capabilities,” adding that “plans to deploy them in combat zones were thwarted.”

The Ukrainian government, however, claimed that Russian missiles hit a residential building and the compound of a kindergarten in central Kiev, killing one person and wounding five more.

Russian officials have repeatedly denied targeting civilians since Moscow launched an ongoing military operation in Ukraine on February 24.


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